EU bars airlines from war-torn Libya from Europe's skies

Smoke billows on Nov 25, 2014, from the Mitiga airport in a suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli, held by anti-government militias, after an airstrike by forces loyal to Libya government. The EU barred all Libyan airlines from European airspace
Smoke billows on Nov 25, 2014, from the Mitiga airport in a suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli, held by anti-government militias, after an airstrike by forces loyal to Libya government. The EU barred all Libyan airlines from European airspace on Dec 11, 2014 for fear violent clashes between warring factions mean the authorities can no longer guarantee the safety of their aircraft. -- PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The EU barred all Libyan airlines from European airspace Thursday for fear violent clashes between warring factions mean the authorities can no longer guarantee the safety of their aircraft.

"Recent events in Libya have led to a situation whereby the Civil Aviation Authority is no longer able to fulfil its international obligations with regard to the safety of the Libyan aviation sector," EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said.

"My priority in aviation is passenger safety, which is non-negotiable, and we stand ready to help the Libyan aviation sector as soon as the situation on the ground will allow for this," Bulc said in a statement.

Seven Libyan companies were listed, including Afriqiyah Airways, Air Libya and Libyan Airlines.

The decision followed a regular review of the European Union's air safety list, currently covering 21 countries and more than 300 airlines which is meant to ensure all meet EU standards.

Another 10 airlines are allowed to fly to EU destinations but are subject to certain restrictions.

The list covers airlines from Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Nepal, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan and Zambia.

Bulc said the review also showed that several countries - the Philippines, Sudan, Mozambique and Zambia - had made progress in improving safety standards but not by enough to take any of their airlines off the banned list.